MEET SERENA HARKEY
OUR AWARD-WINNING SOMMELIER AND ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER
Serena, who recently earned Wine Spectator's 2019 Award of Excellence for LB Steak, gives her tips for enjoying wines in the Summertime.
- What is the difference between a summer wine and winter wine?
- I would only consider wines to be seasonal if I was drinking them solo, or without food. Summer wines are going to be your "Porch Pounders", such as rosé, Pinot Grigio, and my personal favorite, Champagne! Winter requires wines with a little more structure and backbone but still light-medium in body for a red wine. I would recommend Chianti Classico or perhaps a Pinot Noir from California.
- Do you stick with red-with-meat and white-with-fish tradition? If not, is there a white you'd recommend with meat and red with fish?
- Red wine with red meat and white wine with fish is always the safest bet. But who doesn't want to live a little dangerously? Especially with spicier foods, a lower alcohol white wine is going to pair amazingly well! The higher alcohol content in red wines accentuates the burn in spicy foods while a lower alcohol or sweeter white can balance out the heat and add more complexity to the dish overall. Personal recommendation would be an Auslese style Riesling.
- What is your take on chilled reds? Are there any standouts you'd recommend?
- Chilling red wines tends to mask flavors and is usually done to hide flaws. That being said, there are exceptions to the rule. Mollydooker does a really fun sparkling Shiraz that is fantastic year round!
- Do you predict Rosé will continue to be the wine of Summer 2019 – or is there a new kid in town?
- Rose is the queen of Summer! I don't think any wine will be able to dethrone her. And with there being so many different styles of rose, it's truly a wine that can please everyone!
- Champagne, Prosecco or Cava? Which one would you choose and are there any varieties in particular that excite you?
- CHAMPAGNE! CHAMPAGNE! CHAMPAGNE! Champagne will always be my first love. Because it is one of the coldest growing wine regions in the world, with soils containing very minimal nutrients, Champagne simply cannot be mimicked anywhere else in the world. While you can find excellent sparkling wines, especially at great values, from all over, Champagne is truly special.
- What's the one wine and/or varietal that you wish everyone would try this summer?
- I wish everyone would give Riesling a chance! There is a common misconception that Riesling is a sweet wine. Germany is the king of Riesling production and most wines made there are dry in style. There are many styles of Riesling, ranging from bone dry (look for the word Trockenon the label) to cloying but deliciously sweet (Trockenbeerenauslese). But because Germany is typically very cold, acidity levels are still very high. This helps to create a truly balanced wine. Not only are the wines delicious, but it is so much fun to find the style that is right for you!